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UK consortium awarded £11m to develop first-of-its-kind biogas plant

A consortium of UK companies, led by the advanced waste to energy and fuels company Advanced Plasma Power (APP), has been awarded £11 million (€15 million) in government funding to develop a unique biogas plant.

The funds will be used to develop and build the first plant of its kind to turn waste from local homes and businesses into a sustainable fuel to power heavy goods vehicles.

The grant has been awarded to APP and its partners National Grid, clean energy firm Progressive Energy, and CNG Services, a company which provides gas for use in vehicles, as part of a Department for Transport (DfT) programme to develop and commercialise the technologies required to decarbonise the transport sector.

The new APP plant in Swindon, UK, will be the first of its kind in the world to take residual waste – the UK’s largest sustainable source of biomass – and convert it into compressed biomethane using APP’s Gasplasma technology.

The process will produce enough fuel for 75 heavy goods vehicles, equivalent to all of the buses operating in Swindon.

Biomethane can be used interchangeably with natural gas in heavy goods vehicles and is significantly less carbon-intensive and less polluting than diesel.

It has the potential to cut transport carbon emissions by up to 96%.

Construction of the plant will begin in 2016, and the consortium has already found local customers for the product and suppliers for the feedstock.

The post-recycling residual waste will be provided by a local source, and the gas produced will be used by local haulage company, Howard Tenens, and consortium partner CNG Services.

The use of gas as a transport fuel is growing, with John Lewis already using it for some heavy goods vehicles, whilst some bus services operated in Reading and Sunderland also run on the fuel.

The consortium has been working together over the last five years on a project to produce a renewable natural gas made from waste that can be pumped into the UK’s gas pipeline network, thus providing a means of distributing the fuel to where it is needed.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones announced news of the grant as part of £25 million awarded to winners of the Government’s Advanced Biofuels Demonstration Competition.